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Intel Unwires China’s Panda Playground In Wolong

28 October 2004

Intel Unwires China’s Panda Playground In Wolong

Technology Extends Research and Education While Bridging the World’s Cultures

Intel Corporation today announced it has deployed a campus-wide broadband and wireless communications network within China’s Wolong Nature Reserve to aid researchers in the study, care and preservation of the endangered giant panda.

In addition to significantly improving the communications network at Wolong, Intel is collaborating with GLOBIO, an international education non-profit organisation, to create a learning lab that will allow children around the world to study, collaborate and interact in creative new ways.

The technology improves Wolong’s original network and blankets the reserve’s main areas. This includes the administrative office, the Wolong Giant Panda Museum, and the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP), which incorporates the panda breeding centre, nursery room, playground and hospital. Researchers are now using Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology-based notebook PCs to manage and manipulate the digital content, including photos, video and data of the pandas.

Digital Technology Enabling Research and Education Wolong Nature Reserve – generally referred as “Wolong” – is one of the last protected homes for the world’s giant pandas. Located in the lush mountains of the Sichuan Province in southwest China, the reserve cares for nearly 20 percent of the world’s remaining 1,500 giant pandas1 while serving as the site for conducting daily research on panda breeding and bamboo ecology.

Prior to the new technology infrastructure, communication in and around the reserve was limited to some cellular access, and dial-up access in the nursing area. Often the most efficient method for moving data was walking a floppy disk hundreds of yards across the reserve, or driving it several kilometres to a waiting researcher. As a result, research teams relied on paper notebooks to chart vital statistics on each infant’s health and growth and had limited access to file details in the field.

“Deploying a sophisticated communications network in a remote and isolated region is a fantastic way to demonstrate how digital technology and the convergence of computing and communications are transforming how people create, deliver and use information,” said Anand Chandrasekher, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Mobile Platforms Group. “We're excited to be working with Wolong and GLOBIO to reinforce how global communities are capitalising on the benefits of emerging technologies.”

Over the past few months, Intel worked closely with Wolong to deploy the campus-wide communications network, which includes an 802.11 b wireless LAN network. The network allows Wolong researchers greater access to data, such as a video monitoring system using five cameras, so researchers can more effectively observe the Panda’s activities around the clock and share data quickly with colleagues around world.

Today, researchers at Wolong are using the communications network and Intel Centrino mobile technology-based notebook PCs in the field to chronicle the giant pandas’ daily activities and to share the latest data, images and video with research colleagues around the world. Veterinary staff in the administrative office can now check the current feeding and health status of newborn baby pandas a kilometre away. In one case, the head veterinarian was able to observe trends in infant panda feeding over a period of a few days, and suggest changes to improve the tiny cubs’ survival chances. Original data is now being catalogued instantly after each feeding in the nursery and wirelessly transmitted to the hospital more than 200 meters away, and shared with researchers in other cities throughout China.

“Digital technology has transformed the way we communicate and share information inside Wolong and with the rest of the world,” said Zhang Hemin, director of the Wolong Nature Reserve. “By teaming up with Intel, our researchers now have state-of-the-art digital technology to help foster the panda population and manage our precious surroundings.”

Bridging the World’s Cultures with Digital Technology This technology is also inspiring children from around the world to study, collaborate and interact in creative new ways. As part of the Wolong initiative, Intel worked closely with GLOBIO to create the GLOBIO and Intel Children’s Learning Lab (CLL) within the Wolong Giant Panda Museum of China. Intel unwired the CLL and donated Intel Centrino mobile technology-based laptops, which will be used by local teachers and students from Wolong’s Sha Wan and Geng Da Central Primary Schools.

Unwiring Wolong has also created a cross-cultural education opportunity for children around the world. Intel and GLOBIO have created a sister learning lab at Woodstock Elementary School in Portland, Ore. Woodstock hosts a Mandarin immersion program for local children, making the connection even more valuable.

Using GLOBIO’s online education platform, students from China’s Sha Wan and Oregon’s Woodstock elementary schools will interact with each other while learning about the diversity of their respective local environments. For example, Sha Wan students will use the CLL to study giant pandas and their habitat, while Woodstock students will learn about the American bald eagle. The technology infrastructure will provide children with a unique opportunity to explore and exchange respective information about resource sustainability and biodiversity, while encouraging dialog with peers, both locally and internationally.

“The GLOBIO and Intel Children’s Learning Lab is a powerful, stimulating place for children to discover, share and become involved in the world in which they live,” said Gerry Ellis, executive director and founder of GLOBIO. “Digital technology brings this story to life by enabling a global dialogue to help bridge cultures around the world.”

“Intel believes education is the essential ingredient that will prepare all of us for a changing future,” said Ian Yang, country manager of Intel China Ltd. “Unwiring Wolong builds on Intel’s commitment to China by bringing the latest technology to the communities in which we live and work, while also helping to enhance people’s lives.

At the same time, linking the children of Woodstock School with their counterparts in China offers a wonderful opportunity for cross-cultural sharing.”

ENDS

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